“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” We are all familiar with this quotation, and it is a fitting sentiment to begin our blog with.
We are eight partners from Austria, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Italy, Romania, Estonia and Ireland; who have come together to bring our shared values and educational goals to fruition. Over months we planned and sculpted our ideas into a project worthy of EU funding. A project that is creative, exciting, highly relevant and enlightening. Words cannot express our delight having heard that our work had been officially approved; and our eagerness to get started. Our first step took us all to the charming location of Oliveira da Bairro in Portugal.
October 18th 2017: After a long journey, our first evening was spent in the warm and relaxing environment of our hotel where we ate together, enjoyed a celebratory toast and got to know each other.
October 19th: The next morning, refreshed and revived, we were warmly welcomed to the impressive Instituto Profissional da Barraida (our partner school), by the Principal Nuno Santos. We had a wonderful day in IPB meeting with staff and students, observing their highly technical projects at work and enjoying engaging discussions. What we were really struck by was the innovative thinking of the school and it’s tireless initiatives to forge the school with the work-place; a goal of our Erasmus Project.
Later on, each team of teachers presented their school as was prepared by their students. This was a really valuable exercise in getting to know more about each-other. Following that, we had the honour of being hosted in the Town Hall by the Mayor, which was a memorable experience.
October 20th: The following day was dedicated to I.T Work-shops carried out by our Portuguese technical expert Alberto! He guided us step by step through PB Works, Instagram, WordPress and Calameo; giving us the tools we need to communicate throughout the project.
We also set up the voting system on instagram to select the winner of our logo competition as designed by our students! After a tough competition of a high standard, our Italian friends were triumphant in the end – congratulations!
After a break, we broke up into focus groups as organised by the Austrian coordinators, to brain-storm how to make a clear and concise questionnaire, that would be needed by each student group to research their local labour markets.
Our final task was to fix the dates for the next meeting in Ireland, and carry our the lottery to see which trans-national student teams would be paired up! After an exciting raffle, the students were selected in the subsequent teams:
- Ireland & Portugal
- Italy & Germany
- Poland & Romania
- Austria & Estonia
October 21st: After some intensive days of concentration, our cultural day was something met with great anticipation! It certainly didn’t disappoint either. First stop was to the romantic city of Aveiro (Portuguese Venice). Following some city sightseeing, the participants crossed the channel to the natural reserve of São Jacinto. Later, after enjoying lunch in a local restaurant, the group crossed the channel again and visited the breath-taking beaches of Costa Nova and Barra.
October 22nd: Our goodbyes were tinged with sadness, but also great expectation for the next meeting when we would see each-other again. We departed with fresh motivation to get working on all we had discussed, and a feeling of huge gratitude to our Portuguese hosts who did such a wonderful job.
And so it was, the first step complete. A little more learned, a little more experienced but a lot more to come. Watch this space… ; )